John Swanson, head coach of the Bel Air High School state champion baseball team, speaks during Monday's Bel Air town meeting as Assistant Coach Tom Thorsen looks on. The Bobcat players and coaches were honored during Monday's meeting. (DAVID ANDERSON | AEGIS STAFF / June 3, 2013)

The Bel Air town commissioners presented proclamations and certificates to the coaches and players on Bel Air High School's Class 3A state championship baseball team Monday.

Town Mayor Edward Hopkins stressed to the players that the certificates each player received were much more than a piece of paper.

"It really is our way of saying, 'Thank you,' " he said.

Hopkins, along with Robert Reier, vice chairman of the commissioners, presented a wooden bat to Head Coach John Swanson and Assistant Coach Tom Thorsen. The bat will be stained, sealed, engraved and inked in later, they said.

The coaches also presented their own bat to town officials, signed by them and the Bobcats players. Hopkins said the bat would be displayed in the Bel Air town offices.

Hopkins said people can visit Bel Air High School and see signs of the team's accomplishment this year, and "the people who come to town will also see this and recognize your accomplishments."

Hopkins, whose has one son at the high school and two others who graduated from there, was in the stands at Ripken Stadium in Aberdeen on May 25, when the Bobcats defeated the La Plata Warriors, 3-2, for the school's second state baseball championship.

The last state title was in 1996. The 2013 title capped off a stellar 20-5 season for the Bobcats.

"You've all made us very proud," Hopkins said. "Bobcats go; go Bobcat Nation."

Swanson congratulated his players on their victory and lauded them for their conduct on the field and teamwork.

He also mentioned three players, senior Tyler Norcross, junior Nick Loiodice and sophomore J.D. Bruck, who have been selected to represent Bel Air High on the All State District 7 baseball team for Harford County.

The championship game included a number of key plays by the Bobcats, including a game-winning fly ball catch by senior left fielder Nick Rhodes.

"It was a good solid catch, probably one of the best ones of the season," Rhodes said after the certificate presentation.

Rhodes said the ball kept going up, but he was able to jump up and grab it in his glove.

"From that point it was a blur; everyone was cheering, up out of their seats and I was just running in and all I was thinking about was, 'We did it,' " he recalled.

Rhodes called his teammates "a great group of guys to be with."

"It's an honor to be a part of a group of this caliber," he said.

Loiodice, a junior second baseman, said the championship was "just the right way" to send off the seniors.

"It's the ultimate achievement in high school," he said. "Everyone dreams of it and now that we did it, it's an unreal feeling."